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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Portrait of a Beggar

By Leo Lebovitz, '33

The Magpie, June 1932, v. 33, n. 2, p. 38.

Old Yitzhok was a true beggar. He would have none of your modern subway begging or this business of dragging one's self through the street selling pencils.

Yitzhok's system was honorable and besides it invariably worked. He would go into a synagogue on Saturday afternoon and sit devoutly through the entire service. As the worshippers began to leave, Yitzhok would remain seated, a tear in his eye and an expression on his face that seemed to symbolize the eternal persecution of the Hebrew race.

Most always someone would come over and say, "Gut Shabbes, yid. You are a stranger here. Where will you spend the Sabbath?"

To which Yitzhok would reply, "I know no one in this city. I am afraid I will have to spend the Sabbath among the goyem. God should only forgive me but what can I do?"

"Come home to me," the other Jew would say. "By me in the house you'll have a good kosher meal and can mine frau cook. Hm, like an angel. Noo, so come."

And thus Yitzhok eked out an existence. One acquaintance was usually good for a week of meals.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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